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"It’s hard to reconcile this with the ‘land of the free’ and the ‘home of the brave.’"

CLEAR CHANNEL ZAPS STERN
AFTER FCC LEVIES $495K FINE

Radio Chain Pulls Shock Jock from Its Six Stations, Infinity Under Pressure to Comply
The chilling effect on free speech starts here.

Clear Channel yanked Howard Stern permanently from six of its stations after getting hit with a $495k fine by the FCC for "indecent content" on the show.

Stern replied on his website, "It is pretty shocking that governmental interference into our rights and free speech takes place in the U.S.," said Stern. "It’s hard to reconcile this with the ‘land of the free’ and the ‘home of the brave.’ Next thing you know, they’ll shut down Score’s." He also accused the FCC of conducting a "McCarthy-type witch hunt." Sir, have you no decency indeed... Where's Edward R. Murrow when we need him?

The FCC proposed the $495k fine for the broadcast chain, imposing the maximum fine of $27,500 for each of the 18 violations of federal decency rules on each of the six stations.

Which raised the question of whather the FCC will now be tallying up fines based on a per "utterance" or each dirty word instead of per "instance," or phrase.

Clear Channel President/CEO John Hogan interrupted Condoleezza Rice’s testimony to say: "Mr. Stern’s show has created a great liability for us and other broadcasters who air it. The Congress and the FCC are even beginning to look at revoking station licenses. That’s a risk we’re not willing to take."

Stern has been proclaiming on his show for weeks that the Bush government is out to drive him from the airwaves, not for indecency, but for opposing the President’s policy and re-election.

Clear Channel had previously suspended Stern’s show in six markets, including Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Louisville, San Diego, Rochester and Pittsburgh.

Infinity has insisted it will not pull the program, a huge money-maker for the conglom, from the 35 stations which currently broadcast the show, but once they start getting hit per "utterance," it could fulfill Stern’s prophecy of his own demise.

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein released a written statement that "stepped-up actions like those we take today will convince broadcasters that they cannot ignore their responsibility to serve the public interest and to avoid the broadcast of indecent material over the public airwaves."

Can satellite-delivered broadcasting and the Internet be far behind.

Yes, folks, it was a bad day for the First Amendment.